The iconic animated characters of Rocky and Bullwinkle were created by Minnesota native Jay Ward in the 1950s.
Freeborn County, located in southern Minnesota, has a rich history dating back to the 1850s. The county was established in 1855 and named after the county seat, Albert Lea, which was named in honor of Albert Miller Lea, a renowned Minnesota surveyor. The region was originally inhabited by the Dakota Sioux and Chippewa tribes, but settlement began in the mid-19th century with the arrival of European immigrants.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Freeborn County experienced significant economic growth. Agriculture played a vital role in the county's development, with crops like wheat, corn, and barley being cultivated. The construction of railroads also boosted the local economy, connecting Freeborn County with larger cities and facilitating the transportation of agricultural goods and other commodities.

In the early 1900s, Freeborn County became known for its natural beauty and tourism potential. Albert Lea Lake, Fountain Lake, and other nearby water bodies attracted visitors who sought recreational activities and relaxation. In 1927, the T.B. Sheldon Memorial Auditorium, a grand theater and community center, was constructed. It remains a notable landmark in the area.

Over the years, Freeborn County has faced challenges such as the Great Depression and changes in agricultural practices. However, the county has adapted and diversified its economy. Today, it remains an important agricultural hub and also hosts various manufacturing companies. Freeborn County continues to cherish its history while embracing innovation and progress for the benefit of its residents and visitors.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Freeborn County, Minnesota.

  • 1855: Freeborn County, MN was established on February 20, 1855.
  • 1856: The first permanent settler arrived in what is now Freeborn County.
  • 1857: The County's first post office opened.
  • 1860: Freeborn County's population reached 2,012.
  • 1863: The city of Albert Lea was incorporated on February 22, 1863.
  • 1868: The first railroad tracks were laid in Freeborn County.
  • 1876: The County's first newspaper, The Freeborn County Standard, was established.
  • 1889: The first courthouse in Freeborn County was completed in Albert Lea.
  • 1936: The iconic Freeborn County Courthouse, designed by architect John W. Nye, was constructed.
  • 1953: Freeborn County Historical Museum opened its doors to the public.
  • 1998: The city of Albert Lea celebrated its sesquicentennial, marking 150 years since its incorporation.